It has been a year, and I for one cannot wait to begin the next. And where did the months go? Beginning 2015 in London we were battling through the dark early months and boom! we are back in December. This December is a seemingly phenomenal experience – not quiet into the bikinis, but I have never experienced such mild weather! Cardies and occasional Barbour, but the gloves and hats are absent. So much for hoping for snow.
This has not stopped us from embracing the ENTIRE Christmas experience. The early nights I tell myself, serves to enhance the trillion gorgeous lights all over my sky. Our new little flat is a fairy cove of sparkly lights, candles and beautiful cards from friends and family all over the world. The jumpers are out, presents wrapped and under the tree, and dare I say it, but I rather love the English Christmas.
Not that I could not do with a great Beach or Summer holiday in South Africa. Temperatures high, sunsets spectacular, just that all round healthy vibe. One does feel healthier, I do anyway, in South Africa – maybe it is the Vitamin D, the fruit and fresh veggie (yes, the veggies in England are sad) but I have more energy in South Africa.
On the other side, tourism to South Africa has suffered with the implementation of new visa rules. Right now families are being denied boarding and millions of Rands, and jobs are being lost. This has been going on for six months, plenty of time to reverse the law, and I can guarantee you those denied access to board, are not going to re-plan a trip to our beautiful country in the near future, if ever again. Stupidity in government did not stop there however, and the rand went west (quite good for the pound and inbound travel but this helps little when tourists are being thwarted in their plans to get there!). Let us pray that the Common Sense fairy may appear and the REAL people of South Africa will shine through the mud curtain to entice plenty of tourists there in 2016. Still the best place ever!
Let us pray for rain. The drought has stripped the land of crops, people and animals are struggling. A dire situation. Please rain, please. For those in England affected by the floods, praying for you too. Such is the madness of life – one and the other extreme.
Trickery is afoot here! Buds and blooms are bluffed into thinking of an early Spring, without a dormant winter and the daffodils want to party in December! Thinking a shock cold blizzard in Jan, or my least favourite, McBeth February. Ham House garden tours for the first time are extending into the winter. How to describe the silent eeriness of a closed house, history put to bed and the garden, it’s true lines and shapes revealed in all its starkness. Mist rises and stays low on the ground – stunning. Stuff of novels and Romantic trysts in the Wilderness.
As I said, so much has happened this year, and one of them was the eventual finishing line of citizenship. Anglo-South African I am. My first visit to the Harry Potter World which did the entire goose bump thing (in awe of imagination and brilliance in bringing such imagination to the screen. Not possible without the imagination and brilliance of JK herself). London continues to keep me spellbound – I even have friends who are entitled to drive sheep over London Bridge – more of some other time, but wow.
Not too many trips abroad, but to the beloved Paris I have to go. Cannot keep away, despite man’s inhumanity and terror attacks, for Paris will not wither or hide, and Christmas is such a poignant time for me there – again, must be the mist and the grey, the bookshops, the language, the lack of tourists (did I SAY that) and just seems ag, beautiful.
So, London Green Africa, has been sending clients to the sunny climes to play Golf, swim with Sharks and experience the amazing hospitality of the sunniest people in the world. The exchange rate is giving them a 5 star holiday for a pittance (literally). I was last there in September, when the late summer played with hues upon the vines and the Guinea fowl woke me in the morning. Am planning my mother’s 90th birthday in Franschoek in June and another larger event in the same ‘French corner’ months later.
The acquisition of our Citizenship meant administrative tasks this year, moving house and other personal stuff, but we are settled and excited for the New Year. We continue to promote our business to travel to South Africa and the rest of Africa, assist and plan bespoke itineraries for those arriving in the UK, and in particular London, and off course, advise on trips to Europe. In Particular, Paris and Provence. Perhaps I shall get there next year – wishing lists out and at the ready.
Many thanks to all who have been so supportive this year. We hope to be doing plenty of business with you next year. We value your friendship and wish you the most awe inspiring Christmas with friends and family.
To Good wine To good friend always